A Resource guide to housing in South Africa 1994 – 2010: Legislation, Policy, Programmes and Practice


Section 26 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, enshrines everyone’s right of access to adequate housing. Since 1994, the South African state has created a raft of legislation and policy to give effect to this right. Despite this, and notwithstanding the provision of 2.3 million housing units to nearly 11 million people, South Africa still has a housing crisis after 16 years of democracy, with over 2.1 million households lacking adequate housing (and millions more lacking access to basic services). The Minister of Human Settlements recently stated that despite the housing backlog, the government does “not want to create a beggars culture where people just expect to be given free houses from the State.

Some of the critical issues not yet properly addressed have been the unlocking of well-located land in urban areas for residential development, the connection of bulk infrastructure and services to new housing developments, access to interim services and upgrading for millions of households living in informal settlements and the lack of decent, affordable rental housing for low-income and poor individuals and households in well-located urban areas.

This resource guide provides an overview of housing legislation and jurisprudence, policy and implementation in South Africa since 1994. The housing terrain in the country is complex, in large part due to the deliberate policy and legislative framework of socio-economic and spatial exclusion and marginalisation created during apartheid, but also due to failures on the part of the post-apartheid state to adequately redress these problems since 1994.

Full Text

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Publication Type Guide
Publisher Socio-economic rights institute of South Africa
Year 2011
Author(s) Kate Tissington
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